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Today marks a huge bloody milestone – it is the 8 year anniversary of me writing a blog.

The BIG 8. Not quite double digits yet, but a milestone nonethe-bloody-less.

My god the landscape for digital has changed in that time. Within these 8 years I have tried out lots of permutations, but I keep coming back to my blog. There is the ongoing battle between Blogging vs Instagram and the public vs private nature of these communications. It’s been interesting to see the landscape change from website, to the shift of people starting to post *everything* everywhere.

I now think that impermanence, like anonymity, has an important role to play in this ecosystem. Instagram won’t be around forever. There has to be a shift; and it’s exciting to see the tools develop that allow different forms of communication. When people ask if I think social media is dead, I say, “It’s not dead, nor will it die”. And it won’t. I’ve read blogs from 1994. You do the math. The tech will change, the devices will change, but people will still share photos and stories and experiences with one another.

So how did it all begin? On April 7th 2010, I registered a blogpost domain. I began publishing articles on The Unknown Pleasures. They were nothing special for you to read, but it is very personal to me. At 20, it was liberating that I could publish all on my own, and get lots of interesting people talking. I guess at that time, starting a blog felt like I’d launched my own (basically designed) magazine.

My headlong enthusiasm for the blogging in those early days lead me to a number of like-mind gals; we inexorably encouraged each other and became a little community and it gave me the courage to keep on producing fresh new posts and follow other creative pursuits. Five years ago I re-branded from The Unknown Pleasures to Substance, after a creative incubation period post moving back to New South Wales. Like anything creative, it’s an ebb and flow process and I quickly realised, I wanted to start writing about things beyond myself. Something more valuable for people to read. Something with substance. So; we converted the blogspot.com to .com – well to a .cc and then substance was, uh, digitally born.

In the past 8 years of trial-and-error, experiments, and growth, there’s been a helluva lot of learning.

When I first started blogging I wanted everything right now. I wanted to be better at photography, better at writing, better at growing an audience, better sharing opinions. And I wanted it all right now. But what I have learned, especially over the last year, when the digital landscape has changed so drastically with Instagram etc, is, it’s really an accumulation of hundreds of small steps that matters. Nothing has to happen right this very minute. As long as you’re taking small steps every day and you’re keeping your (passionate) snowball rolling down the hill and gaining momentum, then growth will inevitably happen.

I have also learned the quickest way to slip into comparison spiral is to spend all your energy focused on what everyone else is doing, what people look like and what they’re working on. As hard as it is at the beginning, try not to be influenced by those around you. Create your own lane. Then rock your lane. Because when you do, that’s when you beginning creating your best work. Maybe not everyone will get it or even like it, but that’s so fine. The good thing is, lots of people will and those are your people. And they’re legendary.

I have also learned that goal-chasing has a way of stealing the joy so right beneath you. I’m not talking long term goals, I am talking about chasing outcomes, numbers, followers, pageviews – all those big, fat shiny goals that you obsess over at the beginning, because you think they make all the difference and mean your work is good enough. Instead of being focused on the above, focus on today, focus on creating something you’re proud of.

Like I always say, I’m SO glad that you stopped by. And I hope you continue to grow with me. I hope to talk to more of you. To discuss more. And in an age of “influence”, I really don’t want to influence you to buy a product or anything on a superficial, surface level. I want to deeply influence people about the importance of having a passion and how to use it and make a living out of it, and the importance to be comfortable and confident in your true colours.

After 8 years, I just want to thank you. Thank you for being here, for being part of this community. Whether you’ve been here for 8 years or 8 days, I appreciate you.

Thank you to my friends and family who have also supported me and helped me along the way. You all know who you are.

And also; Happy Birthday Substance; At times you have felt like the longest journey,but in honesty, it has gone by in the blink of an eye. You are one of the best choices I’ve ever made.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Author: Ally Carey

Hi, I am Ally, a writer and creative at Substance. I have worked in the fashion industry for 6+ years as a model and now on Substance. Substance is a lifestyle blog about fashion, beauty, health and self-improvement; hoping to inspire you to live a life filled with Substance. For more: @AllyMayCarey

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